A gluten free Ethiopian feast #secretrecipeclub

Ethiopian wot with egg and injera For this month’s Secret Recipe Club post, I was assigned Healthy Green Kitchen. (Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? Sign up here!) Since Winnie and I have a similar food philosophy – healthy, simple, gluten free and “eco-groovy” (love that term) – I thought this would be an easy assignment. Well, that’s not exactly how things turned out.

First, I had to pick a recipe. Charcuterie, pho or latkes? French or Thai? This was too hard! Then her food category, Ethiopian and recipes for injera and wot, caught my eye.

I love going out for Ethiopian food. My favorite is the Queen of Sheba restaurant in Denver. I first dined there at a blogger meet up organized by my friend, Lucretia. Since then I’ve taken my family there several times. We all love it and wish it was closer. So when I saw Winnie’s post, injera and wot (a traditional Ethiopian meal) I was excited. Finally some Ethiopian food I could make at home!

Making injera

The first challenge was to make injera, the Ethiopian pancake-like bread that is used to scoop up food at meals. (Traditionally, you eat Ethiopian food with your fingers.) It’s made from teff flour, which is gluten-free since teff is a seed not a grain. You can purchase Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour at your local health food store or online.

I planned ahead and used the sourdough method outlined in Winnie’s post over six days. Where I had problems was cooking up the injera. At first my batter was too thin, so I added more teff flour. Then I used too much batter and it wouldn’t cook through. Then it kept breaking when I flipped it. After going through the entire batter, I had about three intact (but delicate) pieces of injera.

Then I tasted one. Blech! This was not the light and spongy injera I get at Ethiopian restaurants. The injera I made was gritty, crunchy, dry and nasty – like an overcooked buckwheat pancake with no sweetener added to it. Also, the color of the injera was much different than the ones I get out. This leads me to think that restaurants could be using wheat flour in their injera instead of teff.

Making wot

I was glad to see that Winnie featured a vegetarian wot with eggs. I love the wot and eggs dish we order at Queen of Sheba, so I hoped her recipe would be similar.

Her wot recipe involved several spices I didn’t have in my cupboard, like cardamom and caraway seeds. Even so, it was hard to find everything I needed at my local grocery store. This dish was very easy to cook up, but did involve 30 minutes of prep time to cut up all the vegetables. I took a few short cuts like using frozen, cut up green beans and potatoes that I didn’t have to peel, which helped somewhat.

I reduced the amount of oil and doubled several of the vegetables so I’d have enough for a main course instead of a side dish. Doing so required cooking it in my  biggest saute pan. You could also use a wok.

The kids loved the wot and it got high marks from my husband. Even so, something was off. While I thought this dish was tasty (and boy did it smell great) it wasn’t exactly like the wot I’ve had in restaurants. Something was missing or maybe there was too much cinnamon - I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Even so, I will be making this again, especially when we have a surplus of squash from the garden.

vegetables

Vegetarian wot with hard boiled eggs

Based on the recipe for vegetarian wot at Healthy Green Kitchen

Serves 6 as a main dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 large carrot or two handfuls of baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup plus another 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups diced summer squash
  • 1 small head of cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 8 very small red potatoes with skin on, cubed
  • 1 small green chiles (I used a red jalapeno)
  • 12 ounce bag of frozen, cut green beans
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons course sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and pierced 1/2 inch deep all over with a toothpick.

Directions:

  1. Over low-medium heat, cook the onions and shallots in a large dry saucepan. Stir frequently until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat up to medium, and add the canola oil. Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, caraway seeds and coriander and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the carrots and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomato paste and 1 cup of the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened, 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the squash, cabbage, potatoes, chiles, green beans, turmeric, and the other 1/2 cup of water.
  6. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
  7. Add the eggs to the stew and stir gently so that everything is combined. Serve warm.

Serve with warmed brown rice or whole wheat tortillas or Flatout Flatbread wraps if you don’t have a local source of Ethiopian injera takeout. Also, Ethiopian restaurants serve beer or honey wine. I had my wot with hard cider – delish!

Nutritional information

  • Calories 438
  • Calories from Fat 156
  • Total Fat 17.3g
  • Saturated Fat 2.4g
  • Trans Fat 0.1g
  • Cholesterol 186mg
  • Sodium 1175mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 61.9g
  • Dietary Fiber 12.3g
  • Sugars 12.7g
  • Protein 14.5g
  • Vitamin A 87%
  • Vitamin C 171%
  • Calcium 16%
  • Iron 27%

Nutrition Grade A from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 9

30 thoughts on “A gluten free Ethiopian feast #secretrecipeclub

  1. Jeanette

    I’ve always wanted to try Ethiopian food, it sounds so interesting, and I love all the spices. What a fun event this month – learning about all different blogs and food!

    Reply
  2. Winnie

    Thanks for trying this dish! Sorry you had trouble with the injera- yes, I do believe Ethiopian restaurants use some wheat flour, which would lighten it up. Glad your family enjoyed the wot, though it doesn’t entirely sound like you did LOL. Anyway, thanks again for featuring my recipe!

    Reply
    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      Winnie, there’s always the issue of baking at elevation since I’m at over a mile high here in Colorado. That may have had something to do with it as well. Next time I go to Queen of Sheba, I’ll have to ask the owner how she makes her injera.

      I had a wonderful time cooking from your blog Winnie.

      Reply
  3. Karen Harris

    I’ve always been intrigued by Ethiopian recipes but haven’t ever made one. Maybe I should start slowly by heading over to Queen of Sheba to get my feet wet first. This looks delicious.

    Reply
    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      The Queen of Sheba’s a little hole in the wall and the service is slow since they have one cook, the owner, doing all the cooking. Still it’s worth the wait and going to a slightly crummy neighborhood. Maybe we should do a food blogger meetup there!

      Reply
  4. Amanda

    I’ve never had Ethopian food! Don’t even know if I could find anything like that here is southeast WI. It looks marvelous, glad your family enjoyed it. Thanks for playing along!

    Reply
    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      You might have to go to Milwaukee or Chicago to try Ethiopian food. Though I’ve had really good Thai food in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, so you never know where you’ll find a good ethnic food restaurant.

      Reply
  5. Janis

    Great post. I make injera all the ti e. The secret I learned from an Ethiopian restaurant owner is
    1c Teff 1/2 c wheat flour, 1/2 c self rising white flour

    Takes practice but you will get it.

    Reply
  6. Shelby

    I totally admire Winnie….and everything she makes looks absolutely yummy – even if I have never seen it before (and that has happened!). I have never eaten Ethiopian food before, but i’m game…and this looks delicious!

    Reply
  7. Kristen

    I have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant. I am hoping when I move this summer from a town of 40K to one of 900K that I will have the opportunity. I love flatbreads from all over the world and am anxious to try injera and wot, too.

    Reply
  8. Deeba

    I’ve never had Ethiopian food Anne-Marie, and you certainly have me intrigued. This main looks healthy and delicious…WOW! I love Winnie’s blog and can well imagine the tough choice. You did great on the SRC!

    Reply
  9. Tessa

    I have never had Ethiopian food before, but this meal sounds great. I love the combination of spices, and it definitely sounds like a great way to get (and use up) some veggies!

    Reply
  10. Stacy (Little Blue Hen)

    My friend and I checked out a tiny East African restaurant down the street last week and the food was AH-mazing. This looks great, too. The spice combinations are always the thing that intimidates me when trying to make ethnic dishes at home, but I think I actually have all of these!

    Whenever I talk to friends in Denver I am thankful that I don’t have to bake at altitude.

    Reply
  11. Delishhh

    Ethiopian is still one of those cuisines that i have still not tried and I think after reading this i just have to try it. Very nice! Love the post and just having a blast looking at what everyone made.

    Reply
  12. sarah, simply cooked

    The wot sounds like a great dinner, so full of vegetables–my favourite way to eat. I find chopping vegetables to be quite therapeutic; half an hour of calming chopping wouldn’t bother me at all. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

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